NTA – Dublin Bus – Florin

“My father was a bus driver. He passed away in an accident when I was 18 and I’ve always missed him in my life. When I became a father myself, I vowed that I will always be there for my children, but I never thought that one day I would be a bus driver as well. More to that, I would be a bus driver in another country. I used to work in a hospital back in Romania. I was working in an office managing and ordering supplies. I used to wear a suit and a tie to go to work and my best friends were all doctors. I used to work every day, from Monday to Sunday for 26 years. Despite working so much, I was barely able to make enough money to keep the house running. My two sons were planning to go to college and I promised them that I would pay for it. It soon turned out that my earnings weren’t even enough to pay for their accommodation. I had a friend who was living in Dublin and working for Dublin Bus. He told me that he would help me move here and get a job. He told me: ‘Who knows, you may become a bus driver here like your dad was.’ I have always loved driving and after 26 years between four walls, it felt like a great job to have. Somehow that idea stuck with me and I began to visualise myself one day being a bus driver in Dublin. Despite being almost 50 and having no English, I decided to try my luck. I left my family, all my friends, and everything I knew behind. I remember holding the plane tickets in my hand and thinking that I had probably lost my mind. “

“One thing followed another and I found a job as an assistant kitchen porter. It was like a hamster wheel for over a year, but I earned enough to send money home to my family. Back in those days, I used to pass by the Samuel Beckett bridge and there was this quote on it: ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again, fail again, fail better!’ I was obsessed with this quote and began to live my life by it. I used to wake up every day at 5 am. I would study English until ten to seven, then I left for work. When I arrived home, I would study for two more hours every night for two years before I had enough courage to apply for the driving course. After finishing the course, I still didn’t have enough English to interview for Dublin Bus so I drove trucks initially. It took me another two years until I was able to apply. I used every job I had in this country to improve myself and to learn from the people I met. Long story short, I was hired and I am a Dublin Bus driver for almost two years now. I learned to fail and to fail better. I know that the hardest part of my life here is over. All the obstacles I was facing when I arrived here are now behind me. I have a secure job that I love, and I have a pillow to lay my head on. I came here to earn enough to help my family, but they don’t really need my help anymore. My sons are in their late twenties, but I still tell them: ‘Listen, guys! Anything you want to do to improve your skills until you turn 30, we, as parents, will pay and help you! You don’t need to worry about anything!’ It feels amazing that I can say that! One is an architect and the other one is a math teacher. I could not be prouder of them. When I finally got the job in Dublin Bus, they sent me a long text about how proud they felt for me. I still have that text on my phone. I get goosebumps every time I read it. Now, Covid is almost over so I can visit home whenever I please… I now only have to enjoy and smile! My plan is to stay for four more years and then move back to my family for the rest of my life. Life is great!”

This post was highlighted by the National Transport Authority, TFI – Transport for Ireland to promote the discussion about diversity and inclusivity in Ireland and to bring awareness to their opposition of racism and discrimination of any kind on public transport. Find out more in the comments section. #UnitedAgainstRacism

The National Transport Authority, TFI – Transport for Ireland  have partnered with Humans of Dublin to create a campaign to stand against racism. Find out more at https://www.transportforireland.ie/united-against-racism